This easy day hike starts at the stunning fortress of Rasnov, before winding your way up the lovely forest trails of Transylvania to the epic views of The Pagan Temple.
Type of Hike: Well-maintained trail/road/fields
Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Distance: 4 kilometers one-way
Number of Wrong Turns: 2
For the Fortress: You can’t miss the Rasnov Fortress. Just cut through the main square of town to the right of the funicular is a staircase. It takes about 20 minutes.
For the Pagans’ Temple: Head out the fortress and follow the paved road away from the direction of Rasnov. You’ll know you’re going to the right way when you see the Romanian version of Jurassic Park (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it). Keep following the road until it hits the main highway back into town, cross over it, and you’ll see the trailhead. There are numerous trails back here, so you will want to have some additional maps/info on hand.
As you can see from the photos, the fortress is just a quick hike from town. There’s an entry fee ($4 USD) and I spent about 30 minutes cruising through the small walled city. There’s some great views of Rasnov down below, so will worth the detour.
I also loved this open-air art display with the old tourism ads for Transylvania.
On The Hike
The second part of the hike is through a magical and weird forest that I’ve experienced before in Transylvania. The trees form a canopy above the trail, and the sparse undergrowth is covered in a blanket of autumn leaves. It’s oddly silent in here too, and I’m only hearing a few bird songs.
This hike has a bit less information that the other ones that I’ve been on, so I’m relying pretty heavily on Maps.Me to figure out a route. There are a couple more trailhead options and they all converge on a small pretty field (Poiana Sub Padină), about an hour up the mountain. From there, it’s only about 30 minutes to the lookout point of Bisericuța Păgânilor (aka The Pagans’ Temple).
It’s said that after a failed attack on the Rasnov Fortress, the Turks fled to this spot in the woods. Finding these magical rocks, they built a temple here. These people of the forest eventually disappeared, but their spirit lives on in this sacred place.
Extending the Hike
From The Pagans’ Temple, you can head back down into Rasnov, or keep going to Poiana Brasov, about two more hours up the trail. The trails are not marked as well as other hikes that I’ve done, and I ended up getting misdirected on two ghost trails. For most of this hike, the road to the ski area is in view so I wasn’t too concerned about getting lost. At the bottom of the ski area, there’s a bus back down to Brasov (about $1 USD).
Where To Stay
Brasov has a wide selection of housing, including a completely unique experience where I camped in the backyard in the middle of the city ($40 USD/per night). Read about my glamping adventures right here.
Between the weather, the hiking, and Romanian hospitality, this has just been a perfect autumn. If you’re hiking around Brasov, skip Dracula’s castle and get a glimpse of the true spirit of Transylvania by checking out this region of hidden treasures.